Our next stop after Denver was the Grand Canyon.
On the way there we stopped in Williams/Arizona for the night, so that we could start the next day early and bright… with the National Park not completely overrun.
Williams is about 30 minutes away from the Grand Canyon and therefore, offers a great location to sleep without having absolutely overpriced accommodations. For those who wish to leave the car behind, it also has a train connection that ends in the heart of the National Park.
We rose early and hit the road. The landscape is not too fascinating after driving through it for two days. At some point when we were closing in on the Grand Canyon and Mary remarked “Shouldn’t we see something by now?”
Jo and I were rather confused… and laughed until our sides hurt when realizing that Mary, for whatever reason, had been thinking of the Rocky Mountains and thought we’d enter the Grand Canyon on water level.
After a quick explanation it dawned Mary that she made a hilarious mistake and joined our laughter. Soon we entered the National Park. We parked the car by the visitors center, headed to the rim and were stunned. Not only by the sheer number of people that were gathered at this point of the national park, but the sheer size of the Grand Canyon. Unlike Rio Grande… this canyon is GRAND.
There are several free busses that take you to different parts of the park so you can enter trails or just see a different part of the rim. You often see the Grand Canyon on pictures and have a vague idea of what “the whole” might look like.
What surprised me much more was what is around the “whole”. In fact, I never really thought about what the surroundings of the Grand Canyon actually look like. I mean, it is in Arizona so it would be obvious to expect some kind of desert. Therefore, I was quite surprise to find it sitting in the middle of a forrest. Well at least the parts we headed through.
Due to the recent snowfall it did not feel like Arizona. The deer by the side of the road and the occasional snow patches looked more like Scandinavia or Canada than the Southwest of the US. But the next cactus takes you right back to where you are.
It is impressive to see the marks the Colorado River has left in the course of history. But it also makes you wonder how strong it would be today if there weren’t the dams slowing it down to produce energy and reduce the danger. There is so much to see and do in the Grand Canyon National Park. Unfortunately, our time was limited and we only had a few hours. So we headed back on the road much too soon to head on.